lights (Vulg."doctrina;" LXX. "revelation"). See THUMMIM
In the Old Testament used in every case, except 2 Sam. 16:23, to
denote the most holy place in the temple (1 Kings 6:5, 19-23;
8:6). In 2 Sam. 16:23 it means the Word of God. A man inquired
"at the oracle of God" by means of the Urim and Thummim in the
breastplate on the high priest's ephod. In the New Testament it
is used only in the plural, and always denotes the Word of God
(Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, etc.). The Scriptures are called "living
oracles" (comp. Heb. 4:12) because of their quickening power
perfection (LXX., "truth;" Vulg., "veritas"), Ex. 28:30; Deut.
33:8; Judg. 1:1; 20:18; 1 Sam. 14:3,18; 23:9; 2 Sam. 21:1. What
the "Urim and Thummim" were cannot be determined with any
certainty. All we certainly know is that they were a certain
divinely-given means by which God imparted, through the high
priest, direction and counsel to Israel when these were needed.
The method by which this was done can be only a matter of mere
conjecture. They were apparently material objects, quite
distinct from the breastplate, but something added to it after
all the stones had been set in it, something in addition to the
breastplate and its jewels. They may have been, as some suppose,
two small images, like the teraphim (comp. Judg. 17:5; 18:14,
17, 20; Hos. 3:4), which were kept in the bag of the
breastplate, by which, in some unknown way, the high priest
could give forth his divinely imparted decision when consulted.
They were probably lost at the destruction of the temple by
Nebuchadnezzar. They were never seen after the return from
something girt, a sacred vestment worn originally by the high
priest (Ex. 28:4), afterwards by the ordinary priest (1 Sam.
22:18), and characteristic of his office (1 Sam. 2:18, 28;
14:3). It was worn by Samuel, and also by David (2 Sam. 6:14).
It was made of fine linen, and consisted of two pieces, which
hung from the neck, and covered both the back and front, above
the tunic and outer garment (Ex. 28:31). That of the high priest
was embroidered with divers colours. The two pieces were joined
together over the shoulders (hence in Latin called
superhumerale) by clasps or buckles of gold or precious stones,
and fastened round the waist by a "curious girdle of gold, blue,
purple, and fine twined linen" (28:6-12).
The breastplate, with the Urim and Thummim, was attached to
Aaron was the first who was solemnly set apart to this office
(Ex. 29:7; 30:23; Lev. 8:12). He wore a peculiar dress, which on
his death passed to his successor in office (Ex. 29:29, 30).
Besides those garments which he wore in common with all priests,
there were four that were peculiar to himself as high priest:
(1.) The "robe" of the ephod, all of blue, of "woven work,"
worn immediately under the ephod. It was without seam or
sleeves. The hem or skirt was ornamented with pomegranates and
golden bells, seventy-two of each in alternate order. The
sounding of the bells intimated to the people in the outer court
the time when the high priest entered into the holy place to
burn incense before the Lord (Ex. 28).
(2.) The "ephod" consisted of two parts, one of which covered
the back and the other the breast, which were united by the
"curious girdle." It was made of fine twined linen, and
ornamented with gold and purple. Each of the shoulder-straps was
adorned with a precious stone, on which the names of the twelve
tribes were engraved. This was the high priest's distinctive
vestment (1 Sam. 2:28; 14:3; 21:9; 23:6, 9; 30:7).
(3.) The "breastplate of judgment" (Ex. 28:6-12, 25-28;
39:2-7) of "cunning work." It was a piece of cloth doubled, of
one span square. It bore twelve precious stones, set in four
rows of three in a row, which constituted the Urim and Thummim
(q.v.). These stones had the names of the twelve tribes engraved
on them. When the high priest, clothed with the ephod and the
breastplate, inquired of the Lord, answers were given in some
mysterious way by the Urim and Thummim (1 Sam. 14:3, 18, 19;
23:2, 4, 9, 11,12; 28:6; 2 Sam. 5:23).
(4.) The "mitre," or upper turban, a twisted band of eight
yards of fine linen coiled into a cap, with a gold plate in
front, engraved with "Holiness to the Lord," fastened to it by a
ribbon of blue.
To the high priest alone it was permitted to enter the holy of
holies, which he did only once a year, on the great Day of
Atonement, for "the way into the holiest of all was not yet made
manifest" (Heb. 9; 10). Wearing his gorgeous priestly vestments,
he entered the temple before all the people, and then, laying
them aside and assuming only his linen garments in secret, he
entered the holy of holies alone, and made expiation, sprinkling
the blood of the sin offering on the mercy seat, and offering up
incense. Then resuming his splendid robes, he reappeared before
the people (Lev. 16). Thus the wearing of these robes came to be
identified with the Day of Atonement.
The office, dress, and ministration of the high priest were
typical of the priesthood of our Lord (Heb. 4:14; 7:25; 9:12,
It is supposed that there were in all eighty-three high
priests, beginning with Aaron (B.C. 1657) and ending with
Phannias (A.D. 70). At its first institution the office of high
priest was held for life (but comp. 1 Kings 2:27), and was
hereditary in the family of Aaron (Num. 3:10). The office
continued in the line of Eleazar, Aaron's eldest son, for two
hundred and ninety-six years, when it passed to Eli, the first
of the line of Ithamar, who was the fourth son of Aaron. In this
line it continued to Abiathar, whom Solomon deposed, and
appointed Zadok, of the family of Eleazar, in his stead (1 Kings
2:35), in which it remained till the time of the Captivity.
After the Return, Joshua, the son of Josedek, of the family of
Eleazar, was appointed to this office. After him the succession
was changed from time to time under priestly or political
(Heb. shophet, pl. shophetim), properly a magistrate or ruler,
rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a cause. This
is the name given to those rulers who presided over the affairs
of the Israelites during the interval between the death of
Joshua and the accession of Saul (Judg. 2:18), a period of
general anarchy and confusion. "The office of judges or regents
was held during life, but it was not hereditary, neither could
they appoint their successors. Their authority was limited by
the law alone, and in doubtful cases they were directed to
consult the divine King through the priest by Urim and Thummim
(Num. 27:21). Their authority extended only over those tribes by
whom they had been elected or acknowledged. There was no income
attached to their office, and they bore no external marks of
dignity. The only cases of direct divine appointment are those
of Gideon and Samson, and the latter stood in the peculiar
position of having been from before his birth ordained 'to begin
to deliver Israel.' Deborah was called to deliver Israel, but
was already a judge. Samuel was called by the Lord to be a
prophet but not a judge, which ensued from the high gifts the
people recognized as dwelling in him; and as to Eli, the office
of judge seems to have devolved naturally or rather ex officio
upon him." Of five of the judges, Tola (Judg. 10:1), Jair (3),
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8-15), we have no record at all
beyond the bare fact that they were judges. Sacred history is
not the history of individuals but of the kingdom of God in its
In Ex. 2:14 Moses is so styled. This fact may indicate that
while for revenue purposes the "taskmasters" were over the
people, they were yet, just as at a later time when under the
Romans, governed by their own rulers.
of false prophets (Deut. 18:10, 14; Micah 3:6, 7, 11), of
necromancers (1 Sam. 28:8), of the Philistine priests and
diviners (1 Sam. 6:2), of Balaam (Josh. 13:22). Three kinds of
divination are mentioned in Ezek. 21:21, by arrows, consulting
with images (the teraphim), and by examining the entrails of
animals sacrificed. The practice of this art seems to have been
encouraged in ancient Egypt. Diviners also abounded among the
aborigines of Canaan and the Philistines (Isa. 2:6; 1 Sam. 28).
At a later period multitudes of magicians poured from Chaldea
and Arabia into the land of Israel, and pursued their
occupations (Isa. 8:19; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6). This
superstition widely spread, and in the time of the apostles
there were "vagabond Jews, exorcists" (Acts 19:13), and men like
Simon Magus (Acts 8:9), Bar-jesus (13:6, 8), and other jugglers
and impostors (19:19; 2 Tim. 3:13). Every species and degree of
this superstition was strictly forbidden by the law of Moses
(Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:27; Deut. 18:10, 11).
But beyond these various forms of superstition, there are
instances of divination on record in the Scriptures by which God
was pleased to make known his will.
(1.) There was divination by lot, by which, when resorted to
in matters of moment, and with solemnity, God intimated his will
(Josh. 7:13). The land of Canaan was divided by lot (Num. 26:55,
56); Achan's guilt was detected (Josh. 7:16-19), Saul was
elected king (1 Sam. 10:20, 21), and Matthias chosen to the
apostleship, by the solem lot (Acts 1:26). It was thus also that
the scape-goat was determined (Lev. 16:8-10).
(2.) There was divination by dreams (Gen. 20:6; Deut. 13:1, 3;
Judg. 7:13, 15; Matt. 1:20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22). This is
illustrated in the history of Joseph (Gen. 41:25-32) and of
Daniel (2:27; 4:19-28).
(3.) By divine appointment there was also divination by the
Urim and Thummim (Num. 27:21), and by the ephod.
(4.) God was pleased sometimes to vouch-safe direct vocal
communications to men (Deut. 34:10; Ex. 3:4; 4:3; Deut. 4:14,
15; 1 Kings 19:12). He also communed with men from above the
mercy-seat (Ex. 25:22), and at the door of the tabernacle (Ex.
(5.) Through his prophets God revealed himself, and gave
intimations of his will (2 Kings 13:17; Jer. 51:63, 64).
Temple, the Second
After the return from captivity, under Zerubbabel (q.v.) and the
high priest Jeshua, arrangements were almost immediately made to
reorganize the long-desolated kingdom. The body of pilgrims,
forming a band of 42,360, including children, having completed
the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks
of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their
proceeding by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of
their first cares was to restore their ancient worship by
rebuilding the temple. On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the
governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by
contributing personally 1,000 golden darics (probably about
$6,000), besides other gifts, the people with great enthusiasm
poured their gifts into the sacred treasury (Ezra 2). First they
erected and dedicated the altar of Jehovah on the exact spot
where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the
charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old
temple; and in the second month of the second year (B.C. 535),
amid great public excitement and rejoicing (Ps. 116; 117; 118),
the foundations of the second temple were laid. A wide interest
was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with
mingled feelings by the spectators (Hag. 2:3; Zech. 4:10). The
Samaritans made proposals for a co-operation in the work.
Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the elders, however, declined all such
cooperation: Judah must build the temple without help.
Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. The
Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" (Ezra 4:5), and
sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the
work was suspended. Seven years after this Cyrus died
ingloriously, having killed himself in Syria when on his way
back from Egypt to the east, and was succeeded by his son
Cambyses (B.C. 529-522), on whose death the "false Smerdis," an
imposter, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months,
and then Darius Hystaspes became king (B.C. 522). In the second
year of this monarch the work of rebuilding the temple was
resumed and carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5: 6-17;
6:1-15), under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and
admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready
for consecration in the spring of B.C. 516, twenty years after
the return from captivity.
This second temple had not the ark, the Urim and Thummim, the
holy oil, the sacred fire, the tables of stone, the pot of
manna, and Aaron's rod. As in the tabernacle, there was in it
only one golden lamp for the holy place, one table of shewbread,
and the incense altar, with golden censers, and many of the
vessels of gold that had belonged to Solomon's temple that had
been carried to Babylon but restored by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).
This second temple also differed from the first in that, while
in the latter there were numerous "trees planted in the courts
of the Lord," there were none in the former. The second temple
also had for the first time a space, being a part of the outer
court, provided for proselytes who were worshippers of Jehovah,
although not subject to the laws of Judaism.
The temple, when completed, was consecrated amid great
rejoicings on the part of all the people (Ezra 6:16), although
there were not wanting outward evidences that the Jews were no
longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign
Hag. 2:9 is rightly rendered in the Revised Version, "The
latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,"
instead of, "The glory of this latter house," etc., in the
Authorized Version. The temple, during the different periods of
its existence, is regarded as but one house, the one only house
of God (comp. 2:3). The glory here predicted is spiritual glory
and not material splendour. "Christ himself, present bodily in
the temple on Mount Zion during his life on earth, present
spiritually in the Church now, present in the holy city, the
heavenly Jerusalem, of which he is the temple, calling forth
spiritual worship and devotion is the glory here predicted"